August 8, 2018 - As EAA founder Paul Poberezny always said, it’s the airplanes that bring us together, but friendship keeps us together. Volunteers and attendees shared variations of that sentiment all week long during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018.
“It’s funny, we started coming for the airplanes, but we keep coming back to spend time with our fellow volunteers who have become family to us,” said Patty Ramsdell, EAA Lifetime 398273, co-chair of evening main gate admissions.
It was the people — the members of EAA’s nearly 900 local chapters — who inspired the opening of the Camp Scholler Chapters Pavilion.
“We wanted to create a location for chapter members to fundraise for their local chapter together through daily pancake breakfasts and allow chapter members to have a home within Camp Scholler to host their own social events,” said EAA Chapters Manager John Egan. “That’s what the Camp Scholler Chapters Pavilion does. It gives chapter members a place to relax and socialize with one another during the hustle and bustle of AirVenture week.”
Keith Lindsay, EAA 1001440, and other members from EAA Chapter 38 of Warner Robins, Georgia, acted as the pavilion hosts during the pancake breakfasts to ensure consistent and smooth operations. They also kicked off the week with the pavilion’s first breakfast on Sunday morning, July 22. A little more than 300 meals were served — an early indication that the pancake breakfasts would be well-received!
On Sunday evening, EAA hosted a Chapter Leaders Corn Roast to celebrate the grand opening of the pavilion. Nearly 450 chapter leaders from around the world packed into the pavilion to enjoy fresh, roasted sweet corn, brats, and hot dogs. Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and chairman of the board, spoke at the event, highlighting that the Camp Scholler Chapters Pavilion will become an important part of the EAA convention grounds.
“Pancake breakfasts are an integral part of the local chapter, which helps fundraise and build camaraderie for the chapter, and it is great to bring that local spirit here to the AirVenture grounds,” Jack said.
Ray and Penny Bowman, EAA lifetime members from EAA Chapter 106 near Boston, Massachusetts, supported the pavilion through a gracious donation and were on-hand to cut the ribbon at the pavilion’s opening breakfast.
Once AirVenture was under way, multiple chapters had the opportunity to host their own pancake breakfasts. In addition to EAA Chapter 38, Chapter 25 of Lakeville, Minnesota; Chapter 983 of Granbury, Texas; Chapter 572 of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; and Chapter 237 of Blaine, Minnesota, each sold more than 300 breakfasts and earned roughly $1,500 for their efforts.
For each breakfast, the EAA chapters department supplied all necessary materials, including pancake batter, sausages, plates, a rotating pancake griddle, and coffee makers. The premixed pancake batter was purchased from Perkins Restaurant & Bakery to reduce work required for the chapter members. The chapters simply needed to supply the volunteer labor for the morning.
Chapter 958 from San Marcos, Texas, and Chapter 41 from Neenah, Wisconsin, also held corn roasts on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Chapter 113 from Canton, Michigan, and Chapter 23 from Salt Lake City, Utah, each hosted their own private events on separate evenings.
Looking ahead to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, chapters will again have the opportunity to reserve the pavilion to host a pancake breakfast or social event. Keep an eye out for details and reservation requests in March of 2019!